Women can Train just like a Man and still look like a Woman
I was recently called out by a very good friend of mine (female) and her complaint was that everything that I wrote about in my articles was directed mostly towards male/men's fitness and that I really wasn't considering it from the female prospective. So being a man of my word, here we go. There are several differences between a man and a woman's body, however there are also multiple common characteristics in the manner in which each genders body responds to training and nutrition. When a woman trains hard in the gym and has a healthy, appropriate diet (designed for her body and fitness goals), she will lose fat and gain muscle just like a man will. Ladies, I have no idea where this mysterious myth came from that if you train hard with free weights you will turn into some muscle bound Amazon like the She-Hulk. This could not be further from the truth. The women you see walking around in the gym that share a close resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger, got that way from using steroids or PED's (performance enhancing drugs). Simply put, it is not possible for a woman to obtain muscularity at that level without the assistance of male hormones. The other myths/ideas that a woman hitting the weights like an animal will result in the development of a deeper voice, more acne, hair loss, expanded jaw line or clitoral enlargement and/or other negative side effects that gave weight training for females such a bad name are grossly inaccurate and also stemmed from the usage of PED's. Training with free weights (like a man as some say) will shape your body and give you a leaner, toned appearance, but you will still look like a woman.
Lifting Weights will not make you Huge
Physical Characteristics of the Genders
The male and female body are about 85% identical, of course there are the obvious differences. Men naturally have more muscle mass, much bigger frames, and are naturally stronger than their counterparts. Women have smaller frames but still carry more body fat and less skeletal muscle. Ladies, those big breasts might look good in your favorite dress when your out on the town, but in the fitness world, unless they are synthetic, it's simply just fat. This additional "fat" along with other mitigating factors are the reason women tend to stay smaller, especially in the upper body. This is also why a woman's legs tend to develop faster than their upper body. A woman's body requires more water than a man's. Because of the higher body fat percentage (partly due to breasts), women have more fat tissue which have a lower concentration of water than other tissues. So their body has less water per weight. The goal of a majority of men is to get as big and muscular as possible while most women prefer the Malibu Barbie look and want to stay small and lean. There are genetic limitations for everyone, regardless of your gender. If your fitness goal is to surpass these limitations and go the PED route, like with anything else, you might be able to get away with it, done in moderation. You make your own choices, but there are consequences that also come with every choice you make. Some of the effects of these drugs are irreversible. So take that into consideration when contemplating going this route.
Strength Training is not just for the Boys
Vanilla Almond Protein Shake
Vanilla Almond Protein Shake
- 1/2 cup Ice
- 1 tablespoon Almonds, Sliced
- 1 cup Water, Divided
- 2/3 cup Powdered Milk, Non fat
- 1 teaspoon Sugar free vanilla pudding mix (such as jello), Fat free
Directions for Vanilla Almond Protein Shake
- Blend ice, almonds and 1/4 cup of water in blender until almonds have been pulverized. Add remaining water, powdered milk and pudding mix. Continue to blend until it's smooth.
- Serve and enjoy.
Men are bigger, so naturally their body is going to require more calories, fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Your diet should be focused on your body type/weight and goals. Let me stress those words again, "YOUR BODY". The diet that your best friend or workout partner is doing and appears to be working well for them, does not necessarily mean it will work for you in the same manner. Girls, once a good, consistent weight training routine is in place, your going to eat more, don't let this discourage you. When you develop more muscle, your metabolism will require more calories to maintain that new muscle. Meaning you will be eating more to maintain the same body weight. Stop looking at the scale. Your thinking that exercising and eating right, but yet you see no movement on the scale. That's because muscle weighs more than fat (denser), your not going to see a big fluctuation in bodyweight, you will see it more in the way your cloths fit initially. A woman's diet requires more iron than a man's. The most obvious reason is that monthly friend (menstruation cycle). Iron is a major component of blood which women lose a lot of every month. Women require more calcium, especially after the age of 35. Supplements work the same for both genders. Women will require less protein than a man. One of the main reasons is it suppresses the production of Serotonin. Serotonin influences and manages the nervous system. (its responsible for the nervous and respiratory systems, body temperature and pressure, and emotional stability). A deficiency of Serotonin can be detrimental to your health and emotional state. Its imperative that you regulate your body's daily protein intake. It is absolutely necessary that your diet be designed for your body.
Rating the Vanilla Almond Protein Shake
Training Methods of the Genders
The way in which a particular exercise is performed may be a little different between the genders. Simply changing the angle of a particular movement will also altar the muscles involved. A woman is smaller and will have a much narrower grip. In terms of the mechanics, the movements work the same regardless of gender. When you first begin working out, there will be an initial bulky feeling. This is natural and simply the development and presence of muscle combined with your body fat. Theoretically machines would be ideal for girls. Some even appear to be tailored towards women being smaller, narrow and you have to adjust them to fit a bigger size. Machines will give you that toned, lean look, if that's what you are looking for, however if a harder, more muscular appearance is your goal, free weights are definitely the route to take. The type of training, amount of weight used, cardio sessions, amount of ab work, number of sets and repetitions are all totally dependant upon you, your body and the goals you are trying to accomplish. Grabbing a Muscle and Fitness magazine and simply doing the latest hot new workout, may not be beneficial to you or the goal you have set in place because that routine is tailored for someone else's body. Learn and pay attention to your body and how it responds to different types of training stimulus.
What are your Fitness Goals
Ladies you can weight train, develop and build muscle just like a man can and still look like a woman. Don't let anyone tell you different. Do not allow silly myths and stereo types to discourage your from your ideal/desired fitness goals. The only thing that can stop you from your goal is you. So you have got to ask yourself....How bad do you want it?
More links with information on female weight loss/training
- Weight Loss Tips for Girls
It is said that everyone is created equal, however men and woman are very different. These differences can give women a difficult time making the scale move. These weight loss tips are for the girls.
- Changing your Body Composition
Wanting to lose weight is a common thing these days, some people only want to lose in certain areas, this actually is changing the composition of your body.
surewaytohealth on March 17, 2017:
Yes, I noticed women who lifted never bulked up. Thanks for dispelling the myths.
ThoughtsWriter from America on September 17, 2014:
Come on! There's nothing wrong with a girl getting huge of cupcakes. That's the right shape!
Piper Harris from Georgia on March 09, 2014:
Great hub! I am a girl who lifts weight and lots of them! I consistently lift heavy weights 5x's a week and look better than I ever have (no She-Hulk here!)
ShamontielLVaughn on February 05, 2014:
I found out about weight training perks accidentally. I had to take a fitness course in order to get my undergraduate degree and I had absolutely no desire to participate in organized team sports. Bleh. If it wasn't weight training, it would've been swimming or bowling. I walked in that course, looked at a gang of good-looking guys, and thought "This is where it's at." Still didn't have any idea about the weight loss deal. I quickly watched my figure go from a size 12-14 to a size 6-8 and I was embarrassed initially because all of my clothes were falling off. I literally had to go shopping to find jeans that wouldn't fall down. I tried going to a college picnic and had to wrap my jacket around my pants because the belt was useless. I promise if I'd have gone in with the "lose weight" mentality instead of the slacker college mentality, I'm not sure I would've come out with the same results. Well, I would. But I think I would've worked harder at it and been more impatient with the results had I not taken my time. Anyway, kudos on the entry. I still keep free weights and lift during aerobics and yoga. Actually I kinda want to lift now since it's been talked up. The inspiration has hit.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on September 30, 2013:
@Dee Saenz - 55 and still doing it....that's awesome! Keep doing what you're doing.
@Express10 - Its probably the media/magazines which turn a lot of women away, they display pictures of overly muscular women & some think they will look like that just from using weights.
@Crystal Tatum - I think its great if you start a weight training program, however if you have neck/back issues, make sure you consult a healthcare professional first. I would definitely recommend getting a Personal training/fitness professional as well, since you really don't have any knowledge of training, you don't want to hurt yourself.
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on September 28, 2013:
I was just talking with someone yesterday about my desire to start a weight program. I have very little strength and lots of back and neck problems, and very little knowledge on how to lift weights, but it's something Im thinking of exploring. This is good information. Voted up and useful.
H C Palting from East Coast on July 27, 2013:
I have been telling other girls and women this but none of them listen. I know that I exercise an amount that most people can't but that's no excuse for not trying to get informed and make more of an effort if a better shape is really what they want long term. The females who've asked me about how I got my shape/what I do would rather eat wildly and get fatter, starve themselves and get fatter as soon as they stop, or do cardio only and wonder why they are skinny fat.
I learned years ago through off-ice trainers who supplemented my figure skating training that weightlifting is important for many reasons for males and females. You have thoroughly and correctly explained it here. I hope more girls and women take heed of what you are saying.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on July 16, 2013:
Thank you for the read Ms Dora, DDE
@teaches12345 - Yes, I can do that for you
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 14, 2013:
Awesome tips here on Weight Training for Girls, you share great points
Dianna Mendez on July 14, 2013:
Thanks for putting my mind at ease. My husband told me the same things, but hearing it from another professional in the field is validating. This is my third year of weight training and exercise. I started slow, remain at a slow pace, but I am finally seeing a difference in the way my clothes fit. Could you write a piece on losing weight on thigh for women? That's my biggest challenge.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 13, 2013:
Quite good! There's so much false information out there. Thanks for clearing up the facts on (PED) muscle etc. Hope the other women are happy with your presentation.
Kevin W (author) from Texas on July 13, 2013:
Thanks all for the read, I try not to be biased and help everyone with their fitness goals.
LKMore01 on July 12, 2013:
Weight training for the arms and shoulders is essential for women who don't want the" bat wings" or the underarm flab. Great and useful Hub, AlphaDogg16. Weightlifting is actually a part of training I enjoy.
lovedoctor926 on July 12, 2013:
Awesome info. thanks for writing on this topic.
David from Birmingham, UK on July 12, 2013:
Some great advice for women. I believe women should train with free weights, the same as men, if they want the best overall results. However they should use a slightly higher rep range. So whereas I would advise a man just starting off to use 5 - 7 reps with the compound exercises (a little higher with assistance work), I would say to a woman to use 6 - 8 reps (again a little more with assistance work). I've seen some pretty strong women that still look sleek and feminine.
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on July 12, 2013:
Great hub and you don't have to stop doing free weights just because you are a (LOOONNGG ) way past 35 either!